All-Time Best Band: The Meters
All-Time Best Solo Artist: Jerry Lee Lewis
Best New Band: Bipolaroid
Long the house band for what is arguably America’s funnest, drunk-assiest city, New Orleans’s METERS fed us funkified instrumentals in what could be called “flower-child soul.” They played with Paul McCartney (in his pre-suck years), opened for the Rolling Stones (when Mick mattered, in the mid ’70s), and had their catalogue pillaged by sample-heavy rappers in hip-hop’s first golden age. (After the Meters split up, the Neville Brothers rose from their funky ashes.) | The 13-year-old-cousin-marrying JERRY LEE LEWIS set the bar high for outrageous rock-and-roll behavior. Even more impressive is that — guitar be damned — “the Killer” was a kinetic frontman on the piano, at least once setting his ivories on fire (and that a decade before Hendrix lit a match to his ax). Bonus points: Lewis is cousins with disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. | Picture Syd Barret and Ray Davies sitting in their peaceful little Bilbo Baggins–ish hamlets somewhere, when all of a sudden Katrina hits and the levees break. There’s your neo-folk BIPOLAROID right there.
Video: The Meters
Video: Jerry Lee Lewis
Listen: The Meters, "Just Kissed My Baby"
Listen: Jerry Lee Lewis, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"
Listen: Bipolaroid, "Jane Jubliee"